Redhawks in uniform, eyes on the ball. Photo by Al Frey

Redhawks in uniform, eyes on the ball. Photo by Al Frey.

By Edd Merritt, Contributor

For a number of years, fall sports revolved around soccer on the fields and cross-country running in the woods. That has changed as do the leaves this time of year so that now, as one looks across the board at fall Redhawk teams (men and women alike), they all appear at, or nearly at, the top of Division I in the state.

This is why Essex’s single-goal soccer win over the Hawk men early this month was so important to both teams. It ended CVU’s 37 game win streak, including last year’s victory over Mt. Mansfield for their second back-to-back state title, and which replaced them in the Division lead this year with the Hornets.

Meanwhile, the women began this season with an equally impressive 51 game win streak and hope to head toward their ninth state title in ten years.

To put records in perspective, long-time coach Peter Coffee felt it was valuable to experience a close loss once during the regular season, that it gave the players a sense of their vulnerability, which made them that much more competitive come tournament time – a philosophy that seemed to work well.

All in all, the entire display of Redhawk sports this fall – men and women alike – is impressive. There is not a losing group in the bunch. Cross-country running is worth mentioning because it involves both individual and team effort to a strong degree. Last year’s state champs were invited to travel west for a national tournament. This year’s team includes many returnees from that group plus a number of important newcomers. In a coach’s often-stated uncertainty about the upcoming season, however, Scott Bliss said they will have to wait and see how everything works out. (Save them from growing the “big head,” eh coach?)

Meanwhile, football, volleyball, field hockey, golf all carry Redhawk jersey-wearers on most of the victory buses.

Golf is often a sport overlooked at the high school level. However, CVU’s linksters have shown once again that their chips, putts and drives can bring them a state title. This year it happened in Barre for the men and was the team’s third in a row, with women coming in second on the Champlain Country Club course where they were edged out of first place by Burr and Burton who won by six strokes.